BEIJING- A Chinese man threw a rare official spotlight on the country’s Internet controls when he sued a state-owned telecom operator for denying him access to US search engine Google, documents and reports showed Friday.

Authorities in China impose strict limits on the Internet, censoring domestic content and blocking foreign websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube using a system known as the ‘Great Firewall’. Google partially withdrew from mainland China in 2010 and moved its servers to Hong Kong after a fallout with Chinese officialdom.

Access to its services has been blocked or disrupted since shortly before June’s 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Wang Long, who describes himself as a ‘law worker’, sued China Unicom over his lack of access to Google at the Futian People’s Court in the southern boom town of Shenzhen, which neighbours Hong Kong. The hearing took place on Thursday, a document on the city’s official litigation service website showed.